|© AP Photo/Mark Baker
A strong likelihood of feuding Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber going to war early in the Chinese Grand Prix was washed away after qualifying on Saturday.
In Q2, Webber rolled his car to a stop after the team radioed him that he was out of fuel and to save whatever little there was remaining in the tank, a litre of which is mandatory as stated by the rules.
Webber qualified 14th but was disqualified after the FIA established that the fuel was under the prescribed regulations, and was consequently demoted to the back of the grid.
A statement from the stewards read that the stricken Red Bull "was unable provide the fuel sample as required.”
“The team admitted it had not put sufficient fuel in the car... Only 150ml of fuel was on board which was insufficient to provide the one litre fuel sample," the statement added.
When Webber was asked by the TV media if he felt there were any conspiracy to ensure that he doesn’t start near his teammate, the 36-year-old Australian disregarded the question.
“It’s disappointing,” he said.
Vettel, meanwhile, qualified ninth.
“As a punishment for disobeying orders Vettel was given the job of filling the cars up before practice,” joked Tiff Needell, a one-time Grand Prix driver and currently a host on a motoring show on British television.
Red Bull pointed out that the the amount of fuel that was required to be put into the car from the fuel rig was not fully delivered.
"This was due to an error with the fuel bowser that meant it under delivered 3kg of fuel," said team principal Christian Horner. "Therefore on Mark’s in-lap we saw large drop outs in the fuel tank collector and the car unfortunately ran dry of fuel, which is obviously frustrating.
"The fuel bowser has been immediately quarantined for further investigation. It’s a shame as he would obviously have made Q3," he added.